I first met Jacki Janik of Turning Point Farm in New Harmony, Indiana, when she and her family would drop off crates of eggs for us to sell at the River City Food Co-Op in Evansville. Turning Point was only a few years old at the time, and was transitioning from selling at the local farmers market in New Harmony to boxing vegetables weekly for her subscription CSA (Community Supported Agriculture). And what boxes they turned out to be.
Jacki’s CSA has become a thing of legend. Generous shares, with so much variety — everything from big beautiful onions and lettuces, lovely fronds of deep green kale and chard, to cauliflower, radishes, beets, broccoli, cabbages, turnips, potatoes, carrots, red and gold peppers, eggplant, and so many kinds of tomatoes, all with their own individual attributes and flavor profile.
When the season for fresh local produce came round this past spring, hers were among the first local vegetables we put on the Common Ground menu. We are never disappointed.
Turning Point adheres to organic practices on the farm, utilizing companion planting, cover crops, and composting, replenishing and maintaining soil fertility, and supporting biological diversity. No conventional pesticides are used.
The result: healthy, nutritious, beautiful produce grown from healthy, fertile, life-sustaining soil.
As a CSA farm, Turning Point has developed a planting and harvesting schedule that allows them to begin delivering shares to customers in early May. Those first boxes of the season typically start out very green. You’ll see lettuces, spinach, spring onions & leafy young greens, all sweet and tender, and arriving at the exact time we’re all craving some of that fresh local green.
By early summer the colors are beginning to come out. This box from June 2017 included French breakfast radishes, turnips, onions, cabbage, kale, kohlrabi, chives, and speckled lettuce.
Come August, it’s a full-spectrum array: carrots, yellow squash, zucchini, purple beans, red and gold peppers, onions, tomatoes, and still more greens.
From an early 2016 post, Jacki explains one important point about how CSAs work:
“The question I most often get regarding CSA vegetable shares is; “Can I pay weekly?” The answer is no. This may seem harsh, but let me explain.
The CSA farmer needs your support early in the season; your dollars finance the farm. It is a partnership between you and the farm. We open sign ups in January, long before the first seed is planted. Your CSA share provides the dollars needed to buy seeds, fertilizer, potting soil, tools, and more. By the middle of February, we sow the seeds that will become your lettuce, peppers, broccoli, cabbage, and kale. In early March, seeds are sown for tomatoes, herbs, and many more. As spring approaches we ready the beds, seed, prep and transplant seedlings. Your investment in the farm allows us to buy what we need to grow the healthiest produce possible.
“What is the difference between a grocery store and a CSA? Vegetable varieties grown for a CSA are about quality, flavor, and diversity – not shelf life. Joining a CSA helps you learn where your food comes from, how it’s grown, and how to prepare it. Your food dollars stay local and support a small family farm!”
Turning Point will open their 2018 CSA for new and returning participants sometime in January. If you’re local and these images have tempted you, you can contact Jacki via the Turning Point Farm Facebook page, and find out how to get these vegetables on your table in 2018.
And you can always come to lunch at Common Ground, where Turning Point produce is featured throughout the season.